Journal of Occupational Therapy Education
Health professional students, including occupational therapy students, report increasing rates of stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout while completing their academic programs of study. Self-care is one potential solution to this crisis, as engagement in evidence-based self-care practices has been found to improve the health and well-being of various student populations; however, the self-care practices of occupational therapy students have not been well studied. Therefore, this study explored how occupational therapy students understand and practice self-care, and how self-care correlates to perceived stress. Twenty participants engaged in a focus group and completed a 72-hour time diary. Focus group results indicated that participants highly valued their self-care practices, reporting that self-care improves their well-being, is a skill that must be developed, and plays a critical role in occupational therapy practice. Time diaries revealed that the most frequently recorded self-care occupations were sleeping/napping, meal preparation/eating, and watching television and other streaming services. Total time spent in self-care practices ranged from 9-55 hours, and duration of self-care was not found to correlate with perceived stress or demographic variables. Results demonstrate that the type of self-care activities in which students engage may be more beneficial than duration of self-care alone. Students may benefit from further skill development in self-care to improve their current and future well-being. Occupational therapy educators have the opportunity to assist in developing this skill through intentional programming.
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Laposha, Isabelle and Smallfield, Stacy, "Self-Care: An Occupational Therapy Student Perspective" (2022). Journal Articles: Occupational Therapy. 6.